How to Clean Printer Cartridges

By Mandi Rogier

  • Overview

    Clogged printer cartridges are one major disadvantage of inkjet printers. Over time, the ink cartridges in your printer can become clogged with dried ink. You will most likely begin to notice this when your prints come out with streaks across them. If the ink is severely clogged, you may have trouble even reading your print out. Even if you don't notice these problems, it's a good idea to practice regular cleaning at least every three months to prevent further problems from developing. There is a fairly easy method for handling clogged printer cartridges. By following the quick and easy steps below you should have your printer up and running again in no time.
    • Step 1

      Open the printer menu on your computer. Select the printer that you want to clean and explore the properties menu to locate the self-cleaning button.
    • Step 2

      Click on the "Clean Print Cartridges" (or similarly worded) command and follow the prompts to initiate the cleaning process for your printer.


    • Step 3

      Test your printer to determine if the cartridges are unclogged.
    • Step 4

      If this quick solution doesn't work, fill a syringe with Isopropyl alcohol.
    • Step 5

      Remove the printer cartridge and locate the small holes where ink is released. Place a few small drops of alcohol on these holes.
    • Step 6

      Allow the alcohol to sit for 10 to 20 minutes, then dab with a damp cloth or paper towel. The cloth should have some ink on it when you finish, indicating that the clogs have been removed.
    • Skill: Moderately Easy
    • Ingredients:
    • Isopropyl alcohol
    • Syringe
    • Cloth or paper towel
    • Tip: Clean the cartridge nozzles any time you refill the ink cartridge.
    • Tip: Run print tests and other maintenance programs regularly to prevent the buildup of dried ink.

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